Inside the cramped visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park, A.J. Burnett fielded question after question about his inability to live out his dreams and pitch the Yankees to a World Series title. In front of a smaller crowd, an equally despondent Phil Coke expressed disappointment at allowing two late solo home runs that turned out to be more than just insurance runs for the Phillies.
In the playoffs, the most frustrating feeling is failure and that is what Burnett and Coke expressed following last night’s 8-6 loss that sent the World Series back to Yankee Stadium.
Game 6 will be played Wednesday and Andy Pettitte is expected to make that start on three days’ rest. Manager Joe Girardi is expected to officially announce that during this afternoon’s workout.
Girardi was hoping he would be talking about a championship but that will have to wait after Burnett failed to get through the third inning. He was gone four batters into the third after allowing an RBI single to Raul Ibanez that put the Yankees in a 6-1 hole.
“It’s the worst feeling in the world,” Burnett said. “I had a chance to do something special tonight and I failed. I let a lot of guys in here down. I let a city down.
Burnett said he felt good in the bullpen and the short rest had no impact. Catcher Jose Molina said there was nothing different other than that the Phillies were just hitting and that happened right from the outset, resulting in one of the worst World Series outings.
It was the shortest start in the World Series since Roger Clemens lasted two innings in Game 1 between the Astros and White Sox. It was the shortest start by a Yankee in the Fall Classic since David Wells’ back acted up after one inning in Game 5 six years ago in Florida.
Armed with a 1-0 lead, it took eight pitches for Burnett to fall behind 3-1. He opened the game by allowing a line-drive single to Jimmy Rollins, hit Shane Victorino in the wrist and then left a fastball over the middle of the plate for Chase Utley.
Utley sent it into the right field seats for his fourth home run of the series and the Yankees never led again.
“You got to take it hard,” Burnett said. “There was nobody else’s fault but mine. It was an embarrassing performance in a game like that.”
The first inning was similar to his Game 5 performance in the ALCS where Burnett allowed four runs in the first inning before settling in. Only this time, Burnett never did that. He opened the third by walking Utley and Ryan Howard before allowing RBI singles to Jayson Werth and Ibanez.
The Yankees fell behind 6-1 through three but Cliff Lee was not as dominant as Game 1 when he fired a six-hitter. They scored three times in the eighth on Alex Rodriguez’s two-run double that knocked out Lee and Robinson Cano’s sacrifice fly.
“The positive thing to take from tonight is these guys don’t stop,” Burnett said. They played their heart out for nine innings. Unfortunately, I didn’t give us a chance to win.”
The only problem was that instead of making it a one-run game, those runs cut into an 8-2 deficit. Coke created that by allowing solo homers to Utley and Ibanez and when the Yankees were in a position for the tie in the ninth off Ryan Madson, nobody felt worse than the left-hander.
“I was the reason for us at least not having a chance to tie the game,” Coke said. “So I was pretty irritated.”
Coke was watching the action from the clubhouse at that point and felt even more agitated at his performance when Jorge Posada greeted Madson with a double off the right-field wall before taking third on Hideki Matsui’s double. Derek Jeter knocked in the sixth run by hitting into a double play and the bases were empty for Johnny Damon just like in Game 4.
Just like Sunday, Damon battled back but it took him just five pitches to single up the middle, allowing Mark Teixeira a chance for a tying home run. Teixeira fell to 2-for-19 in the series when he struck out on a changeup.
“It’s very tough to beat that team three in a row in their place,” Teixeira said. “We’re in the exact same place as we were in the ALCS”
If there was anything for the Yankees to not be irritated about it was the fact that they took two of three in Philadelphia and have the next two games at home where they are 6-1 in the postseason. In Anaheim they lost two of three but unlike that series, every starting pitcher is on short rest at this point.
“We understand we have a very good chance,” Johnny Damon said. “Hopefully we can do it Wednesday.”
“We wanted to get greedy and win all three,” Rodriguez added. “We did what we needed to do. We won two out of three here, and we’re going home.”